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Help adjust / tweak my newborn routine?

(21 Posts)
CuddlyOwl Sun 19-Jul-20 16:43:38

I posted the other day about some issues we've had with our newborn being underweight and failing to latch after a traumatic hospital experience - all very stressful. We are now doing a routine (EBF) as advised by hospital and breastfeeding counsellor, with the aim of boosting my supply and giving him more food. It is working well because baby is gaining weight and eating well, and my milk supply is gradually improving through regular pumping.

However- the routine is absolutely killing us (me in particular) through lack of sleep or naps. I was wondering if any experienced Mums or those who've been through this same issue might have any tips for me to help me keep my sanity. Obviously I was prepared for life with a newborn to mean sleep deprivation, but this feels even more ruthless though I'm not sure if I've just organised things badly.

The routine we are following is in 3-hour cycles as follows:
Hour 1. Feed (baby takes between 30 and 75 minutes - average 1 hour)
Hour 2. Express (20 mins or 2 power pumping sessions of 1 hour daily)
Hour 3. Skin to skin cuddles (or sleep at night)
Quick loo break and grab food before back to
1. Feed...

As you can see it is basically broken up into 3 hours. DH is being brilliant and doing chores, meals, sterilising and nappies etc.
At night this allows me 1-1.5 hours sleep per cycle assuming baby stays sleeping. However last night he took longer to feed on some cycles as he was so tired so my sleeps were 1 hour.

I'm not sure how long I can survive on 2 - 3 hours sleep a night. I'm recovering from c-section and still traumatised from our experience so probably feeling worse as a result.

Any practical tips on adjusting this schedule gratefully received. Thank you x

OP’s posts: |
CuddlyOwl Sun 19-Jul-20 19:03:46

Anyone? sad

OP’s posts: |
FrugiFan Sun 19-Jul-20 19:06:01

Sounds like a nightmare. I would speak to whoever put you on this routine to find out how long it will go on for and what else they recommend you can do, because it really isnt healthy or sustainable to sleep for 1 hour at a time.

FrugiFan Sun 19-Jul-20 19:07:03

Do you wake the baby after an hour of sleep or is that just how long he sleeps for?

larrythelizard Sun 19-Jul-20 19:12:27

Not what you'll want to hear but I decided bottle feeding was better for my mental health than trying to re-lactate (also had a horrendous delivery culminating in EMCS) and then first few days of breast feeding resulted in bleeding nipples.

Whilst I felt horrendously guilty for the first few months I don't any more. DS is thriving and I don't think not feeding him my breast milk has stunted his development at all.

larrythelizard Sun 19-Jul-20 19:12:37

Not what you'll want to hear but I decided bottle feeding was better for my mental health than trying to re-lactate (also had a horrendous delivery culminating in EMCS) and then first few days of breast feeding resulted in bleeding nipples.

Whilst I felt horrendously guilty for the first few months I don't any more. DS is thriving and I don't think not feeding him my breast milk has stunted his development at all.

UsernameNotValid Sun 19-Jul-20 19:14:55

Firstly congratulations on your baby and secondly, sorry to hear you're having such a shitty time of it 💐

My daughter had issues with latching on at first, she just couldn't seem to get a good suck going. I was in hospital for 4 days after a C-section too, it nearly broke me - a lovely midwife helped and showed me how to safely cosleep and feed lying on my side which helped massively!

Not for everyone I know but would that be an option?

Kpo58 Sun 19-Jul-20 19:18:51

Is there a reason you are doing the skin to skin in hour 3, rather than during feeding?

UsernameNotValid Sun 19-Jul-20 19:23:07

Also, do you have skin to skin between/during feeds off schedule?

I found maintaining it as much as possible and letting her root around, latching on herself whenever she wanted/needed to seemed to help regulate things too.

LittleMissEngineer Sun 19-Jul-20 19:41:49

How old is baby? Is your DH on paternity leave?

Are you both breast feeding and expressed breast feeding? Or just the latter?

Does this same routine go through the night?

I remember the first couple of weeks being a bit like this (although not quite as bad, but after that it was feed every few hours and maybe once or twice between 9pm and 6am.

MimiSunshine Sun 19-Jul-20 19:46:38

I’m a breastfeeding peer supporter and don’t agree with the schedule you’ve been given.
I also commented on your other post but didn’t want to overload you or go against the advice you had from LLL which I have to say I’m surprised at.

Firstly feeding especially on the breast is skin to skin time. Even if it’s a supplementary bottle then no reason to not combine the two.

Also you can pump one boob while feeding off the other. Your milk supply is a river not a lake, it will just keep flowing and strengthen with more demand.

Don’t be afraid to put baby down and let you both sleep after a feed.
However all babies (even formula fed ones) can and should be fed on demand.

Some of their feeds are just drinks or snacks, especially when it’s hot as your milk adapts and becomes more watery To help keep them hydrated. Where as others are full Sunday lunch equivalents.
Therefore let baby root around and find the nipple, also just offer the boob if they seem a bit squeaky or fussy.
As I said on your other post, arm waving, clenched fists and opening and closing of the mouth are all early warning signs of hunger.

I wouldn’t let them go more than 3 hrs at this stage without a feed but I wouldn’t recommend waiting that long to feed them either IYSWIM?

Ultimately though you’re doing fab and doing all of the right things.

Keha Sun 19-Jul-20 19:47:39

I sacked off the expressing and gave formula top ups. Our issues were with my milk supply being delayed. It took weeks to get my supply up and the top ups to tail off, but we got there. I stopped following the feeding schedule as well and just had baby pretty much attached to my boob as long as he was awake!

Fragolafrappe Sun 19-Jul-20 19:56:26

I know it’s controversial but i co-sleep with my newborn which means we can both drift off to sleep together once I’ve woken up to latch her on. I feed her in demand and take at least one nap with her a day. If you haven’t already try hm feeding her lying down. I start with her in the crook of my arm but kind of roll her off once she’s latched so she’s on her back. We get lots of rest guys way but are conscious to follow all the precautions - she has her own gro bag rather than sharing bedding ( if it’s cold enough to need one) . Neither my DH or I smoke or drink and I wouldn’t do it if I was beyond tired. This is my third baby and co-sleeping has saved my sanity every time ( I need my rest! ). Good luck 😊

00100001 Sun 19-Jul-20 20:06:25

You don't need to be cuddling for an hour at a time, especially if you're feeding skin-to-skin.

give yourself a break, put baby down/hand to dad and have a shower...a bath, nap, make a cup of tea, whatever smile

fabulous40s Sun 19-Jul-20 20:22:11

Everything @MimiSunshine said.
I had similar issues and was given this schedule if better:
0hr breast feed, then top up with pumped breastmilk in a bottle, then 60mls formula.
2 hrs later - pump from both breasts looking at baby photos!
4 hours breastfeed, top up with breastmilk bottle then 60mls formula.
And repeat. Yes was tiring but not like I had much else to do as was first baby luckily.

Eventually the baby got so full I could drop the formula bottle, then about 2 weeks later dropped the breastmilk bottle too.

Took me 8 weeks. Totally worth it.

GenevaMaybe Sun 19-Jul-20 20:25:54

My god. That is barbaric and I really mean it. There is no way on earth anyone could keep that up for long without having some kind of physical or emotional breakdown.

I would do a breastfeed, top up with formula (1hr tops) then leave the baby to sleep for up to two hours. 3-hourly feeds are correct for an underweight baby (or on demand) but the mother needs to take care of her health too.

Mangomumma Sun 19-Jul-20 20:54:44

I had a ridiculous schedule set by a midwife when DD1 was born. I'd had a csection so my milk was late coming in & DD was loosing weight. By the time I'd fed her & pumped (with DH helping with nappy changes & burping) it was time to start over again. We were all knackered, including DD! After 2 weeks we relaxed it & took our cues from DD more, one night I'd had enough & didn't wake her & she slept for 10 hours straight (not recommended I know!) but she had so much more energy to feed properly after that. Eat & drink lots, I remember my doctor saying you shouldn't eat for 3 whilst pregnant but you should when breastfeeding! If baby is gaining weight & has lots of wet/dirty nappies I would start slowly stretching the schedule. Good luck!

CuddlyOwl Sun 19-Jul-20 22:15:01

Thanks all

To answer questions:

Skin to skin- was advised to massively increase this to support latching. Doing both skin to skin whilst feeding and skin to skin whilst baby snoozes.

Whilst feeding I'm letting him root around etc and doing laid back hold to encourage him to find the boob.

To clarify, he breast fed well straight after birth but after the traumatic hospital experience he wasn't able to abs so I haven't breast fed since Day 1.

I am feeding expresses milk and topping up to required amount with formula. My supply isn't enough for his needs yet.

The purpose of pumping is to ultimately get my supply up to meet all his needs and drop formula.

I am personally not comfortable with co-sleeping. I've read the info on Lullaby Trust and know it's right for some, but I'd be too nervous of him coming to harm.

DH is on paternity leave for another week.

Baby is 10 days old.

@fabulous40s your schedule is basically the same as mine except for we are doing 3hrs, not 4, as he was so underweight.

Question
One thing I never fully understand is about safe sleeping. We never leave the baby unsupervised during the day, but at night the guidelines are babies can sleep whilst parents do, so in our case he sleeps in his side car cot whilst we both sleep in the bed next to him. Is there any reason why, during the day, I can't put him safely in his cot and nap next to him? (Once DH back at work).

OP’s posts: |
UsernameNotValid Sun 19-Jul-20 22:23:30

There's no reason you can't sleep beside him if he's safe in his crib as you would at night - grab every minute you can!

Mangomumma Sun 19-Jul-20 22:28:02

Oh defiantly nap when he does in the day! I think the unsupervised is meant to be don't put them upstairs in a cot & you be downstairs.

Irre247 Sun 19-Jul-20 22:48:48

When you say underweight, do you mean he lost a lot of weight after birth?

My second baby was born big (9lb 6oz in comparison to my 7lb 1oz first born!) but lost just slightly more than 10 of her birth weight and took ages to regain. I was being pressured to formula top up, pump etc and it was killing me, all while I quite strongly felt that baby was fine and none of it was necessary just that everyone was a slave to a bloody graph!

I basically ignored the advice and carried on feeding on demand. I could see that everything was fine, wet and dirty nappies all ok, she was alert etc. Lo and behold once she found the centile she was “meant” to be at she has followed it beautifully.

I would slowly start to ease off with the pumping and just concentrate on feeding. Pump one boob while he feeds on the other to begin with, you can always collect this through the day to make one expressed feed that dad can give at the end of the day so you can get a few hours uninterrupted sleep.

When you feel more confident, co-sleeping is a real sanity saver xx

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